In its first reaction after Indian Air Force jets pounded a terrorist camp across the Line of Control days after the Pulwama terror attack, China has urged New Delhi and Islamabad to 'exercise restraint'.
'We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations,' the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr. Lu Kang, said.
India carried out 'non-military, pre-emptive air strikes' across the Line of Control early on Tuesday morning to target the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was planning more attacks after Pulwama, government officials in New Delhi said.
India struck the biggest camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and a 'very large number' of terrorists were eliminated, said the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Vijay Gokhale. Some 300 terrorists were killed in the IAF strike at around 3.30 am, top government sources said. Twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs on the camp at Balakot. India has started the process of briefing major world powers about the air strikes.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed was responsible for the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, in which 40 soldiers were killed. The Pakistan Foreign Minister,Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: 'This was grave aggression by India. This is a violation of LoC and Pakistan has the right to retaliate and self-defence'.
After the Pulwama attack, China had expressed 'deep sympathies' to the families of the 40 CRPF men. In its condolence message to the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi, had said that his country 'resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism', but the statement did not make any reference to Pakistan.
The self-described 'all weather' ally of Pakistan also tried to stall a United Nations Security Council statement naming Jaish-e-Mohammed after the Pulwama attack. China has long used its veto power to scuttle a move by India at the UN to put Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar on a global terror list.